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Elvis Presley Movies


Playing opposite Barbara Stanwyck this time out in Roustabout, Elvis Presley was in awe of his costar and worked hard to live up to her professional standards. Unfortunately, the scriptwriters were less demanding of themselves, and the film suffers from banal dialogue and predictable plotting. Elvis stars as Charlie Rogers, a drifter with a chip on his shoulder who lands a job as a roustabout, or handyman, with a down-and-out carnival operated by strong-willed Maggie Morgan, played by Stanwyck.

When Charlie breaks into song on the midway one day, throngs of young people flock to hear him sing. As news of his talent spreads, Maggie’s carnival begins to turn a tidy profit. Charlie’s good fortune continues as Cathy, a beautiful young carnival worker played by Joan Freeman, takes a romantic interest in him. However, after a misunderstanding involving a customer’s missing wallet, Maggie and Cathy chide Charlie for his selfish attitudes. The embittered young man quits Maggie’s outfit to work for a rival carnival. When Maggie’s carnival starts to go under, Charlie returns with enough money to ward off the creditors. His unselfish act wins Maggie’s respect as well as Cathy’s heart.

Elvis in Roustabout
Elvis Presley as Charlie Rogers, performing at the carnival.

Behind the Scenes of Roustabout

A cast of big-name stars, including Barbara Stanwyck, Leif Erickson, and Jack Albertson, made Roustabout one of Elvis’ best vehicles. Wallis’ solid reputation in Hollywood often helped secure some of the bigger names for Elvis’ movies, and this film was no exception. Supposedly, Mae West was first approached for Stanwyck’s role but declined the offer. The combination of Elvis Presley and Mae West would have made a sensational screen pairing. Stanwyck’s image as a tough, independent woman suited the character. Edith Head, Hollywood’s most illustrious costume designer, did the clothing for the film, even designing a special pair of formfitting jeans for Stanwyck. Elvis would later say that working with Stanwyck made him a better actor.

Cast of Roustabout
Charlie Rogers
Elvis Presley
Maggie Morgan
Barbara Stanwyck
Cathy Lean
Joan Freeman
Joe Lean
Leif Erickson
Madame MijanouSue Ane Langdon
Harry Carver
Pat Buttram
Joan Staley
Arthur Nielsen
Dabbs Greer
Steve Brodie
Sam, A College Student
Norman Grabowski
Jack Albertson
Jane Dulo
Cody Marsh
Joe Fluellen
Billy Barty
Little Egypt
Wilda Taylor
Marianna Hill
Strong Man
Richard Kiel
Carnival Worker
Red West
College Student
Raquel Welch

Songs Featured in Roustabout

  • Roustabout
  • Poison Ivy League
  • Wheels on My Heels
  • It’s a Wonderful World
  • It’s Carnival Time
  • Carny Town
  • One Track Heart
  • Hard Knocks
  • Little Egypt
  • Big Love, Big Heartache
  • There’s a Brand New Day on the Horizon

Credits for Roustabout

  • Paramount Pictures
  • Produced by Hal B. Wallis
  • Directed by John Rich
  • Screenplay by Anthony Lawrence and Allan Weiss
  • Photographed in Technicolor and Techniscope by Lucien Ballard
  • Music by Joseph L. Lilley
  • Vocal accompaniment by The Jordanaires
  • Released November 11, 1964

To learn more about Elvis Presley, see: